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Daily Dirt 04/22/2024 04:15:23

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October 7
Pittsburgh Pa. Motor Speedway,
Imperial, PA
Sanction: Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series (Pittsburgher 100) - $20,000
Information provided by: Kevin Kovac (last updated October 13, 8:12 pm)
Dominant O'Neal takes $20,000 Pittsburgher win
Pittsburgher 100
  1. Don O'Neal
  2. Darrell Lanigan
  3. Josh Richards
  4. Earl Pearson Jr.
  5. Jimmy Owens
  6. Tim McCreadie
  7. Hudson O'Neal
  8. Boom Briggs
  9. Mason Zeigler
  10. Rick Eckert
  11. Gregg Satterlee
  12. Russ King
  13. Jason Covert
  14. Derek Stefanick
  15. Jon Hodgkiss
  16. Brandon Sheppard
  17. Steve Francis
  18. Scott Bloomquist
  19. Alex Ferree
  20. Dennis Erb Jr.
  21. Mike Marlar
  22. Jake Gunn
  23. Tony Musolino
  24. Colton Flinner
  25. Jared Miley
  26. Tommy Beck
  27. Michael Norris
  28. Mike Pegher Jr.
presented by
Heath Lawson/heathlawsonphotos.com
Don O'Neal celebrates his dominant Pittsburgher 100 victory.
What won the race: Don O'Neal of Martinsville, Ind., completely dominated Saturday night's Pittsburgher 100, leading every lap of the caution-plagued affair off the pole position to score his first-ever victory in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series event at Pittsburgh's Pennsylvania Motor Speedway. He was never seriously challenged after any of the race's 11 caution flags en route to capturing the $20,000 triumph by a commanding margin of 4.412 seconds over his Clint Bowyer Racing teammate Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky.
On the move: Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., advanced from the 23rd starting spot to finish fifth.
Winner's sponsors: Don O'Neal's Clint Bowyer Racing-owned Club 29 Race Car is powered by a Cornett Racing Engine and sponsored by Peak Antifreeze and Coolant, Crawford Supply, iRacing, Cometic Gasket and Clint Bowyer Autoplex.
Points chase: After PPMS: 1. Tim McCreadie (8,135 points), 2. Josh Richards (8,095), 3. Scott Bloomquist (8,060), 4. Don O'Neal (7,545), 5. Jimmy Owens (7,540), 6. Darrell Lanigan (7,310), 7. Earl Pearson Jr. (7,275), 8. Dennis Erb Jr. (6,805), 9. Hudson O'Neal (6,755), 10. Gregg Satterlee (6,670), 11. Steve Francis (6,485), 12. Boom Briggs (5,800).
Car count: 35
Fast qualifier: Don O'Neal
Time: 16.919 seconds
Polesitter: Don O'Neal
Heat race winners: Don O'Neal, Michael Norris, Mike Marlar, Josh Richards
Consolation race winners: Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr.
Provisional starters: Jimmy Owens, Tommy Beck, Tony Musolino, Jake Gunn, Derek Stefanick, Jon Hodgkiss
Next series race: October 20, Portsmouth Raceway Park (Portsmouth, OH) $100,000
Editor's note: Corrects winner's engine builder.
By Kevin Kovac
DirtonDirt.com senior writer

IMPERIAL, Pa. (Oct. 7) — After leading Saturday night’s Pittsburgher 100 from flag-to-flag without facing a single serious challenge, Don O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind., summed up his visit to Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway in simple terms.

“At the end of the day, we dominated this weekend,” O’Neal said with a broad smile. “Heck yeah.”

Indeed, O’Neal, 53, scrawled his name all over the sprawling half-mile oval’s marquee annual event. He set a new track record in Friday night’s time trials, cruised to victory in his heat race and roared off the pole position to lead the entire caution-plagued feature distance for a $20,000 payday and his first-ever Pittsburgher 100 triumph.

The race’s 11 caution flags proved to be no problem for O’Neal, who powered his Clint Bowyer Racing Club 29 Race Car away from the pack with ease on each restart. He swept under the checkered flag with a commanding margin of 4.412 seconds over his teammate Darrell Lanigan of Union, Ky., who advanced from the 14th starting spot to claim a career-best runner-up finish in the Pittsburgher 100.

Defending race champion Josh Richards of Shinnston, W.Va., finished third in the Best Performance Motorsports Rocket after losing second place to Lanigan on a lap-88 restart. The podium result moved Richards up one spot to second in the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series points standings, leaving him just 40 points behind sixth-place finisher Tim McCreadie of Watertown, N.Y., and 35 points ahead of Mooresburg, Tenn.’s Scott Bloomquist, who finished 24 laps down in 18th place after backing into the turn-one wall on lap 13, heading to the national tour’s 2017 finale on Oct. 20-21 at Portsmouth (Ohio) Raceway Park.

Earl Pearson Jr. of Jacksonville, Fla., marched forward from the 17th starting spot to finish fourth in the Dunn-Benson Racing Longhorn machine. He surged from fifth to third on the lap-88 restart before ceding one position to Richards and settling for personal-best Pittsburgher 100 placing in his fourth career start.

Jimmy Owens of Newport, Tenn., completed the top five in his Rodriguez Motorsports XR1 Rocket, advancing from the 23rd starting spot after using a provisional to gain entry to the feature lineup. It was his third top-five performance in as many career Pittsburgher 100 feature appearances.

O’Neal made just his fourth career Pittsburgher 100 start, but he looked like an experienced PPMS hand as he romped to his second Lucas Oil Series victory of 2017. He credited his team for propelling him to his third top-five finish in the event.

“Coming here and never winning this race, and dominating it like we have … hat’s off to (crew chief) Anthony (Burroughs) and Snack (crewman Keir Hoover) and everybody at Clint Bowyer Racing,” said O’Neal, whose finished 24th in his first Pittsburgher 100 feature run, in 2005, but improved to third in ’15 and fourth in ’16. “Man, it’s just awesome to come here and win this thing. I don’t get much better than that.

“Me and Anthony (Burroughs) were on the front straightaway there before we started during driver introductions, and he said, ‘You know, every time we’ve been on the racetrack (during the weekend) we’ve been the fastest car,’” he added. “That makes me a little nervous, but we got it done.”

Outside polesitter Mike Marlar of Winfield, Tenn., might have been the most formidable rival for O’Neal; the 39-year-old driver stayed within a half-straightaway of the pacesetter during the race’s first third, and, after Lanigan slid by Marlar for second on a lap-34 restart, the back-to-back Knoxville Nationals winner regained the spot following another caution flag nine circuits later. But Marlar slowed to bring out a caution flag on lap 60, pitted and then retired three laps later because the right-front of his car’s nosepiece was folded under.

Lanigan, 47, inherited second with Marlar’s departure but couldn’t stick with his teammate when the race restart, falling nearly a straightway behind within a matter of five laps. The 29-year-old Richards had his chance to chase O’Neal after overtaking Lanigan for second on a lap-82 restart, but he was a straightaway behind the leader when a caution flag flew on lap 88 and then gave the spot back to Lanigan on the restart.

“I think I seen Josh one time underneath on a restart later in the race, but other than that I never did see anybody,” said O’Neal, who snapped a 36-race Lucas Oil Series winless streak dating back to his only other ’17 victory on April 2 at Duck River Raceway Park in Wheel, Tenn. “I guess I never really realized how good I was. My guy was giving me signals down there in the corner, and when I’d see them cross sticks, that means I’m way out there. It’s good to see them.

“Actually, I didn’t want cautions. I just start getting to where I could pace myself and the caution would come out, and then you’d have to really run hard for a couple of laps to make sure you kept them guys behind you. I knew I was lapping cars good enough and they (his pursuers) had to lap ‘em too, so I sort of wanted to see it go green.

“If I had gotten in a wreck with lapped cars then I wish it hadn’t have went green, but really, we was good either way,” he added. “It don’t happen like that too often. Our race car awesome.”

While O’Neal was somewhat surprised by his utter ownership of the weekend, the strength he showed wasn’t exactly unexpected.

“I struggled at my home racetrack (Indiana’s Brownstown Speedway two weeks ago) — that was my worst one lately — but we was good at Eldora (Speedway for the World 100) and broke and we was good at Knoxville (for the Nationals) and broke a fan blade. And then we got a couple seconds last weekend (in the Lucas Oil doubleheader in Georgia). We’ve really been good.

“Then we come here and dominate, so hopefully that’ll lead over to the Dirt Track (World Championship at Portsmouth) in a few weeks.”

All Lanigan could do following the feature was hail his teammate’s performance.

“We had a really good hot rod,” said Lanigan, who led O’Neal across the finish line to win the Oct. 1 Lucas Oil event at Rome (Ga.) Speedway. “We feel like we made all the right changes for the feature, but Donny had a good piece too. We just came up a little short.”

Richards also praised O’Neal’s performance.

“I didn’t feel like I ever had enough to win,” said Richards, a two-time Pittsburgher 100 champion. “I felt like I could maybe run Darrell back down at the end for second place, but Don was in a class of his own — obviously, because he was the best in qualifying, heat-racing and the feature. I could see him for one lap (on restarts) and that was it.

“Take Don out of the equation — he was exceptional — and we were right there with Darrell I think,” he added. “We got by Darrell there (on lap 82) — I had a good start and he had a bad start — so then I was like, ‘Well, do I pick the top or the bottom (for the lap-88 restart)?’ I picked the bottom again and he was able to just creep back by us and hold us off.”

Notes: O’Neal registered his fifth overall victory of 2017. He also was victorious in World of Outlaws Craftsman Late Model Series action on Feb. 25 at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Fla., and Aug. 5 at Cedar Lake Speedway in New Richmond, Wis. (USA Nationals) and on Sept. 8 won a World 100 preliminary feature. … It was O’Neal’s 42nd career Lucas Oil win. … The power steering of McCreadie’s Sweeteners Plus car steadily went away beginning on lap 20, forcing him to manhandle his car to a sixth-place finish. … Bloomquist’s lap-13 accident came after a scrape with first-time Pittsburgher 100 starter Hudson O’Neal of Martinsville, Ind. — the winner’s son — as they battled for 10th place. The significant rearend damage caused Bloomquist to pit multiple times for repairs; he also blew a left-rear tire to bring out a caution on lap 50, leading him to lose his first lap of the race. … Brandon Sheppard of New Berlin, Ill., raced as high as third for a brief stretch during the race's first half before his Rocket Chassis house car's fuel tank ran dry on a lap-88 restart as he held sixth place. He limped into the pits and didn't return, finishing 16th. ... Colton Flinner of Allison Park, Pa., triggered three caution flags, falling off the pace on laps 16, 30 and 34 before retiring. … Jason Covert of York Haven, Pa., slowed on lap 82 with a left-rear flat tire but returned and finished 13th. … Steve Francis of Bowling Green, Ky., brought out the race’s final caution flag, on lap 88, when a broken axle ended his night while running 10th. … Boom Briggs of Bear Lake, Pa., recovered from two pit stops for tire changes to finish eighth.

Preliminary results and notes:

Pre-feature notes

The 10-minute call to line up the 100-lap feature was blown at 8:11 p.m. Out-of-car driver introductions will precede the start of the finale. … The 28-car feature field was filled out by six provisional starters: Jimmy Owens (Lucas Oil); Tommy Beck (fast-time); Tony Musolino (July 15 PPMS feature); Jake Gunn (PPM Red Miley Rumble); Derek Stefanick (highest-finishing non-transfer Rocket car); and Jon Hodgkiss (highest-finishing non-transfer regional racer sponsored by Satterlee Petroleum). … The race’s three first-time starters are Hudson O’Neal, Mike Pegher Jr. and Jake Gunn.

B-main results

First B-main finish (12 laps; top 3 transfer): Earl Pearson Jr., Boom Briggs, Gregg Satterlee, Tony Musolino, Jon Hodgkiss, Matt Dobnack, Jake Gunn, Tommy Beck (DNS) Keith Barbara, Tommy Schirnhofer Jr.

Second B-main finish (12 laps; top 3 transfer): Dennis Erb Jr., Russ King, Colton Flinner, Jimmy Owens, Bump Hedman, Derek Stefanick, John Weaver, Kelvin Kolhan (DNS) Dan Angelicchio.

Saturday pre-race notes

Weather conditions are almost summer-like for the Pittsburgher 100 finale with temperatures reaching into the mid-80s and skies completely clear as hot laps began at 6 p.m. A chance of rain does not appear to increase until midnight approaches. … The half-mile oval’s track surface was wetter and faster than expected for Friday night’s action, but the start of Saturday’s hot laps seem to indicate that the speedway will turn up more like its usual dry-slick consistency. … Three drivers who entered Friday night’s qualifying program have not returned: Dan Angelicchio (engine trouble during hot laps), Keith Barbara (engine flared up during a heat race) and Tommy Schirnhofer Jr. (damage from hitting the wall during time trials after breaking a hub). … Michael Norris and his crew believe they diagnosed the problem that caused his car to run on seven cylinders during his Friday heat-race victory: a broken spark-plug wire and a problem with the engine’s crank trigger. He starts third in the 100-lapper and is focused on erasing memories of his frustrating performance in last year’s Pittsburgher, which he started from the pole and led early (laps 1-24) before steadily fading to a finish one lap down in 10th. “I’ve watched the video of last year’s race about 400 times,” said Norris, who had never finished a 100-lap feature until last year’s race. “I’m still not sure what I did wrong … I think I should’ve run it harder in the middle of the race, but I’m not sure. It’s a new year, though, and hopefully we’ll be better.” … The 100-lap A-main is scheduled to be the first of three features on Saturday night’s program.

Feature lineup

Row 1: Don O’Neal, Mike Marlar
Row 2: Michael Norris, Josh Richards
Row 3: Steve Francis, Brandon Sheppard
Row 4: Tim McCreadie Hudson O’Neal
Row 5: Mason Zeigler, Jason Covert
Row 6: Mike Pegher Jr., Scott Bloomquist
Row 7: Alex Ferree, Darrell Lanigan
Row 8: Rick Eckert, Jared Miley
Row 9: Earl Pearson Jr., Dennis Erb Jr.
Row 10: Boom Briggs, Russ King
Row 11: Gregg Satterlee, Colton Flinner
Row 12: Jimmy Owens, Tommy Beck
Row 13: Tony Musolino, Jake Gunn
Row 14: Derek Stefanik, Jon Hodgkiss

Heat race results

First heat (10 laps; top 4 transfer): Don O’Neal, Steve Francis, Mason Zeigler, Alex Ferree, Earl Pearson Jr., Tommy Beck, Tony Musolino, Jon Hodgkiss, Keith Barbara.

Second heat (10 laps; top 4 transfer): Michael Norris, Tim McCreadie, Mike Pegher Jr., Rick Eckert, Boom Briggs, Gregg Satterlee, Jake Gunn, Matt Dobnak (DNS) Tommy Schirnhofer Jr.

Third heat (10 laps; top 4 transfer): Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard, Jason Covert, Darrell Lanigan, Denis Erb Jr., Russ King, Bump Hedman, Derek Stefanick (DNS) Dan Angelicchio.

Fourth heat (10 laps; top 4 transfer): Josh Richards, Hudson O’Neal, Scott Bloomquist, Jared Miley, Colton Flinner, Kelvin Kohan, John Weaver, Jimmy Owens.

B-main lineups

(12 laps; top 3 transfer)
First B-main
Row 1: Earl Pearson Jr., Boom Briggs
Row 2: Tommy Beck, Gregg Satterlee
Row 3: Tony Mussolini, Jake Gunn
Row 4: Jon Hodgkiss, Matt Dobnak
Row 5: Keith Barbara, Tommy Schirnhofer Jr.
Second B-main
Row 1: Dennis Erb Jr., Colton Flinner
Row 2: Russ King, Kelvin Kohan
Row 3: Bump Hedman, John Weaver
Row 4: Derek Stefanick, Jimmy Owens
Row 5: Dan Angelicchio

Heat race lineups

(10 laps; top 4 transfer)
First heat
Row 1: Don O’Neal, Steve Francis
Row 2: Mason Zeigler, Alex Ferree
Row 3: Earl Pearson Jr., Tommy Beck
Row 4: Keith Barbara, Jon Hodgkiss
Row 5: Tony Mussolini
Second heat
Row 1: Michael Norris, Tim McCreadie
Row 2: Boom Briggs, Mike Pegher Jr.
Row 3: Rick Eckert, Jake Gunn
Row 4: Tommy Schirnhofer Jr., Matt Dobnak
Row 5: Gregg Satterlee
Third heat
Row 1: Mike Marlar, Brandon Sheppard
Row 2: Darrell Lanigan, Jason Covert
Row 3: Dennis Erb Jr., Russ King
Row 4: Bump Hedman, Derek Stefanick
Row 5: Dan Angelicchio
Fourth heat
Row 1: Josh Richards, Jimmy Owens
Row 2: Hudson O’Neal, Jared Miley
Row 3: Scott Bloomquist, Colton Flinner
Row 4: Kelvin Kohan, John Weaver

Qualifying results

First group    
Don O'Neal (5), Martinsville, Ind., 16.919
Michael Norris (72), Sarver, Pa., 16.959
Steve Francis (15), Bowling Green, Ky., 17.198
Tim McCreadie (39), Watertown, N.Y. 17.230
Mason Zeigler (25z), Chalk Hill, Pa., 17.401
Boom Briggs (99B), Bear Lake, Pa., 17.433
Alex Ferree (10), Saxonburg, Pa., 17.511
Mike Pegher Jr. (1c), Cranberry Twp., Pa., 17.535
Earl Pearson Jr. (1P), Jacksonville, Fla., 17.608
Rick Eckert (7), York, Pa., 17.609
Tommy Beck (91), Sewickley, Pa., 17.734
Jake Gunn (7G), McDonald, Pa., 17.883
Keith Barbara (17b), South Park, Pa., 17.916
Tommy Schirnhofer Jr. (8s), Dormont, Pa., 17.969
Jon Hodgkiss (69), Pittsburgh, Pa., 18.111
Matt Dobnak (42), West Mifflin, Pa., 20.276
Tony Musolino (36), Scott Twp., Pa., 21.64
Gregg Satterlee (22), Indiana, Pa., no time
Second group
Mike Marlar (157), Winfield, Tenn., 17.025
Josh Richards (1), Shinnston, W.Va., 17.041
Brandon Sheppard (1), New Berlin, Ill., 17.057
Jimmy Owens (20), Newport, Tenn., 17.118
Darrell Lanigan (14), Union, Ky., 17.194
Hudson O'Neal (71), Martinsville, Ind., 17.238
Jason Covert (72), York Haven, Pa., 17.248
Jared Miley (H1), South Park, Pa., 17.302
Dennis Erb Jr. (28), Carpentersville, Ill., 17.455
Scott Bloomquist (0), Mooresburg, Tenn., 17.495
Russ King (56), Bristolville, Ohio, 17.587
Colton Flinner (48), Allison Park, Pa., 17.800
Bump Hedman (B22), Sugar Grove, Pa., 17.939
Kelvin Kohan (15K), Gibsonia, Pa., 18.463
Derek Stefanick (65), Oakdale, Pa., 18.867
John Weaver (W3), Commordore, Pa., 18.921
Dan Angelicchio (14a), Greensburg, Pa., no time

Feature lineup

Row 1: D. O’Neal, Marlar
Row 2: Norris, Richards
Row 3: Francis, Sheppard
Row 4: McCreadie H. O’Neal
Row 5: Zeigler, Covert
Row 6: Pegher, Bloomquist
Row 7: Ferree, Lanigan
Row 8: Eckert, Miley
Row 9: Pearson, Erb
Row 10: Briggs, King
Row 11: Satterlee, C. Flinner
Row 12: Owens, Beck
Row 13: Musolino, Gunn
Row 14: Stefanick, Hodgkiss
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